With the release of The Duchess Inheritance right around the corner (hopefully!), I thought it might be fun to refresh readers’ memories of the five main players in The Duchess Quest. For those who haven’t yet read the book, this may be a good primer to introduce you to the characters, and maybe entice you to learn more about them by reading the story. There are no spoilers in the following text, and most of the back story included takes place before the novel begins (or is revealed/implied in the opening chapters). So, with that – enjoy!
Eludaine “Dainy” Ducelle
Birthday: May 5
BACK STORY: Dainy is the eighteen-year-old lost Duchess of Jordinia. At age three, she was rescued from the royal family’s assassination by a rebel soldier who took pity on her. She was raised by her two foster “aunts,” Priya and Paxi, on the coast of Beili in a country called Heppestoni, where she helped them manage their ramshackle seaside inn. Neither of her caretakers were married, nor did Dainy have any marriage prospects while standing out as the only short, curvy white woman in a land of predominantly dark-skinned natives, so it was assumed that the girl would follow in her aunts’ footsteps as a spinstress and innkeeper. That is, until, her blood uncle learned of her survival and sent a brood of men to find her, offering her marriage hand as part of the reward!
PERSONALITY: Readers have described Dainy as equal parts spunky/feisty and innocent/naive. At heart, she is sensitive, nurturing, sweet and upbeat, adventurous and playful. On the other hand, she has a tendency to be jealous, willful/stubborn and listless, especially when it comes to a certain someone she admires. She is not afraid to express her emotions and to love unconditionally. She is also a talented singer and hard worker.
AUTHOR INSIGHTS: Dainy was raised by innkeepers because I have a dear friend who dreams of owning a bed-and-breakfast. This friend has always been a motherly figure towards me, so I wanted Dainy to be raised and mothered by a pair of women at an inn. When writing her as my heroine, it was important to me that I could relate to her strong emotions and self-expression. I am seldom interested in reading or writing about hard-edged, stoic heroines.
Marley “Mac” Macmillan
Birthday: October 11
BACK STORY: Marley Macmillan was raised alone with his mother, Marlena, in their secluded cabin the Knights’ Forest. His mother was reclusive, but also a very dynamic woman who taught him how to survive in the woods, read, write, play the strummer and sing. However, the young man longed to explore the world and discover adventure, as well as perhaps love, beyond the forest. When he saw the bulletin from Hessian Gatspierre enlisting men to search for his lost royal niece, Macmillan leapt at the opportunity.
PERSONALITY: Mac is often the unsung sweetheart of the story, and the voice of reason. He is a goodhearted, upright boy, though can be a bit of a hothead. At his best, he’s loyal, supportive, sensible and unbelievably brave; at worst, he’s bitter, temper-prone and judgmental. He holds others to as high of an ethical standard as he holds himself. His age also affords him a degree of inexperience and boyishness, causing him to get carried away with unrealistic expectations of other people and the world.
AUTHOR INSIGHTS: I’ve often said that, if I could hang out with just one of my characters for a week, I’d choose Mac. He’s easy to get along with, has a great sense of humor (if he likes the person joking with him), and is an overall nice guy.
Jonwal “Jon” Cosmith
Birthday: December 2
BACK STORY: Jon Cosmith grew up a troubled youth in the capitol of Jordinia when the New Republic recruited and trained him to work for Intelligence. He served as an agent in espionage for a time, until becoming disillusioned with his government’s financial corruption. Since abandoning his post, the man was not above stealing and lying to meet his needs. Due to his shamelessness and good looks, he has a long line of conquests and a formidable reputation among women. When he discovered Hessian Gatspierre’s bulletin, he was certain he possessed every wile it took to find the lost Duchess, woo her and, as such, get his well-practiced hands on her uncle’s gold (if not on her).
PERSONALITY: Rogue, rake, Casanova… Jon Cosmith is as slimy as he is smooth, and so obnoxious, it’s charming. Coupled with a shrewd intellect, the man makes for a deadly enemy… or a surprisingly resourceful friend. The question is: which is he? I was once told by an interviewer that Cosmith made him want to throw his Kindle against the wall. But don’t be fooled by the relentless opportunism, sarcasm and unabashed innuendo… deep down, he has his reasons for being the way he is. And a heart – though perhaps hardened – still beats in that finely corded chest.
AUTHOR INSIGHTS: Until my fifth manuscript (currently being penned), Jon Cosmith was my favorite character I’d ever written. Most readers are surprised by the degree to which I identify with him. The truth is, Jon and I think the same – the only difference is how we act! He does/says the things I think, but would never do/say. Writing a character with such a blatant lack of self-control was hilariously refreshing. The pronunciation of his full given name, Jonwal, is “Jon-vahl,” after Jean Valjean, as “Les Miserables” inspired much of my writing for the Jordinia duology – particularly Book 2.
Boslon “Bos” Visigoth
Birthday: August 15
BACK STORY: Boslon Visigoth was born in Dekantor, northern Jordinia, to a woodworking family. At age twelve, his parents, uncle and cousins were participating in a peaceful royalist rally when they were slain by invading rebels. Having been abandoned by his elder brother in addition, Bos was taken under the care of his widowed Aunt Fjelda. Like most in the north, he was disgusted by the rebels’ actions and remained loyal to the royal family, even after they were executed and the New Republic was instated. His happiest moment was discovering the little Duchess to be alive, and he would stop at nothing to find her, seeking no reward in return.
PERSONALITY: Honor, loyalty and nobility are Bos’s prime concerns. One reviewer accurately described him as a “big brother type.” He will take the moral high road in any circumstance; as a result, he and Macmillan get along fairly well, while the pair cannot stand the likes of Cosmith. Bos is also a “gentle giant;” though powerfully built at 7 feet tall, he is slow to anger and avoids violence at most costs.
AUTHOR INSIGHTS: Bos’s character is based off of my husband, who is 6 foot 9. Although my husband has a much better sense of humor than Bos, and isn’t as perpetually serious, they are both big, protective guys with blond hair and blue eyes. One thing I found interesting was that, while reading the books, my husband reacted to Cosmith’s character in much the same manner that the character of Bos did.
Seluna “Selu” Campagna
Birthday: July 4
BACK STORY: With her lithe gait and long violet hair, Selu wasn’t always a vagabond. But when her family was persecuted during the rebellion, she had to do what she had to do. When she was released from incarceration, she stole to survive, in hopes that the lifestyle wouldn’t last forever. Yet, things in Jordinia only seemed to get worse. When she came upon Gatspierre’s request to seek his royal niece, she was intrigued. The bulletin called for men only, but what was to stop Selu from disguising herself as one and seeking the fortune for herself?
PERSONALITY: Selu is tough, self-sufficient and confident. She knows when to be witty, mysterious and seductive…so that she can then turn around and kick butt. As well, she is fiercely loyal and intuitive. She’s been through a lot and may surprise the reader.
AUTHOR INSIGHTS: My sister calls Selu the “bad-ass” (funny, because some aspects of Selu are based off of my sister! Like the fact that they’re both strong, independent women). Where Dainy can tend to be a bit youthful and naive, Selu counterbalances it with her experience and a certain degree of jadedness. What I love most about Selu is her conviction and the fact that she’s not afraid to confront others.
I hope you enjoyed reading this overview as much as I enjoyed writing it! Stay tuned for more with the release of Book 2.